On Magic and Mysteries

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week's topic is Anything Previously Written. And there's still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin!

I first published this piece eight years ago!

So if it seems dated or not like the ME you know now, that’s why. That said, I’m not really changing anything about it, except for formatting, because I apparently didn’t know how to do that when I started my blog! This post was written when Scarlet was just a baby, and Des wasn’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye! Or a “ghost baby” as he morbidly calls life before birth. And that’s somewhat relevant to this post. I shall stop rambling and let this post do the speaking now. It’s a good one.

magic

Our pediatrician’s office has two waiting rooms – a well patient area and a sick patient area. Recently I had the misfortune to be quarantined in the sick patient area with Scarlet since a nasty virus lingered longer than we were comfortable with. Two adorable blonde sisters waited with us, using the time to question me (and Scarlet) about Santa Claus and whether or not I’d ever seen or heard him and whether or not Scarlet has ever seen or heard him. (She hasn’t) As I played along and tried to answer as best as I could, I noticed that their mother was smiling along and not shooting me warning or apologetic glances. She probably knew I wouldn’t spoil her daughters’ belief in Santa Claus, however, it got me thinking how easy it would be for someone to snatch away years of a family’s beliefs and stories in an instant. How strong are the foundations of the stories we tell our children about magic and religion? Are our own beliefs clear enough to pass down to our children?

I found out the truth about Santa Claus, funnily enough, in the Hebrew school parking lot where we used to have to wait in a traffic jam until all of the kids were safely out of school and in cars. My mom and I had some time to kill and somehow that subject came up. I must have been doubting my beliefs during that time, and I know my older brother and sister had found out before me and had kept the stories alive for me and our younger two siblings. I think my mom explained it well then.

“It’s not that I’m going to tell you that Santa is not real. I believe there really was a good man who brought gifts and whose legend and spirit live on. I believe very much in the spirit of Christmas. And, I also believe in Santa Claus…but …Dad and I fill your stockings.” That actually made perfect sense to me and did not break my heart. It seemed to fit right in with my family’s scattered but present beliefs.

I was raised primarily Jewish but with a tinge of earth-based spirituality – Wiccan/Pagan, etc. We also celebrated Christian holidays but more for the spirit of giving and the fun of Christmas stockings and Easter egg hunts, and not at all for the religious meaning. I went through Hebrew school, a Bat Mitzvah and even a Torah Confirmation at 15. After that, my family dropped out of the temple. It was expensive and we questioned organized religion to begin with. And then we scattered into our own families, ready to start our own traditions or keep the old ones going. What we had then worked for us but it won’t work exactly like it did for my family now. Scarlet is 3/4 Jewish and 1/4 Christian by birth only. Will we be able to find our own solutions/explanations to the questions she will one day ask us about religion and spirituality?

It’s a delicate subject in my house, and in many households, but my husband thinks I’m an atheist and I don’t think I am. I guess that means I’m right. I think I both thoughtfully and thoughtlessly question the barrage of information and stories that sound conveniently like fairy tales (or horror stories) to me. I’m undecided. I can’t tell Scarlet that Santa Claus is fake but that everything she learns in temple or church is real. Many parents can but I don’t necessarily feel right about it.

What can I tell her? How can I pass on my murky and confused background? How can I give her something solid when I don’t have any of the answers? What I do know is the powerful chill I have felt hearing a congregation sing. The joy of singing Hebrew to 200+ whose faces are lit with filtered sunlight through a stained glass window. What I know is that we’ll make our own rock n’ roll Passover Seders and eat apples and honey with her on Rosh Hashanah. I know I have prayed before and that my prayers were answered. Maybe someone was listening. I know that I’ve had a lifetime of truly spiritual and magical moments, each one imploring me to believe, even when I think I can’t anymore. And it happens so often that a little voice inside me says each time, “What about now? You’re crazy not to believe after all of this.” Temple. Church. Somewhere else.

It all means something to nearly everyone and everything to someone.

What I want to tell her is that there is a magic and light in all of us and it propels us to do great things. Whether the source of that magic and light is religious, earth-based spiritual, or even self-caused doesn’t necessarily matter. What matters is that it’s there and it’s powerful and many of us have seen and felt it. And many of us have and will go on to do great things.

I still believe…in something. Is that specific enough to tell her? Are my beliefs enough?

This is me linking up, as one of my favorite things to do, with Finish The Sentence Friday. This week’s topic is Anything Previously Written. And there’s still time to write yours. Come link up with your spin: HERE. What’s your past post?

What would you say?

Easter Cookie Baskets – A Little Love Note

These Easter Cookie Baskets Easter Treats are pretty much as adorable and as fun as it gets. And they're easy to make! Make them with your kids, or maybe have the Easter Bunny leave them! The sky is the limit with Easter fun.

I think it’s safe to say that my Easter posts have been love letters to Cadbury Mini Eggs.

Have you noticed that while many of my Easter recipes use Peeps, ALL of them use Cadbury Mini Eggs? And really, you can use any candy eggs you want for these! Robin’s Eggs would look lovely in all recipes. You could use M&Ms shaped like eggs. For all I care, you could make Easter eggs out of edible (or even inedible, if that’s your thing) Play-Doh and put them in these recipes. Or if you’re like me, you keep Cadbury Mini Eggs in your bottom right desk drawer (yes, that’s the one, Scarlet) and you don’t even mind the sounds of little hands rummaging through your desk drawer and leaving the bag open so that little Mini Eggs roll out into your new desk drawer. That just means you have to eat them immediately. Easter Law.

I’m going to be on the briefer side today because Scarlet is in a school play and it’s Math Night at the school. It’s also Grandpa Ernie’s birthday, and we’re having Uncle Gabe stay over. Not to mention, we’re having a humongous Passover Seder, right after the humongous Easter Egg Hunt, and then Easter. I think I’m done with Easter recipes, but no promises!

Ingredients:

1 box of white cake mix, any brand
1/2 C. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. flour
2 eggs
1 C. coconut flakes
Green food coloring
Non-stick cooking spray
Sour Punch Green Apple, Strawberry and Blueberry Candy Straws (I found mine at my local gas station in the candy section)
White frosting
Toothpicks
Cadbury Mini Eggs
Round frosting tip
Disposable piping bag
Kitchen scissors

Easter cookie

Directions:

1 – Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 12-count muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray

2 – Combine the white cake mix, flour, vegetable oil and eggs, mixing well

3 – Take a 2″ scoop of cookie dough and place in each muffin well, gently pressing down to fit the muffin tin well

4 – Bake for 15-17 minutes

5 – Remove from the oven and let cool completely

6 – Place the coconut flakes in a small dish and add a few drops of green food coloring. Stir to combine and set aside

7 – Take a toothpick and gently carve 2 holes on top of each cookie (please see photo). You want it large enough for the Sour Punch Straw to fit

8 – Once the holes are carved, use the kitchen scissors to shorten the Sour Punch Straws to your desired length (about 4-5″) and insert into the cookie

9 – Attach the round frosting tip to the disposable piping bag and fill with frosting

10 – Generously frost the top of the cookie

11 – Add green coconut flakes

12 – Top with Cadbury Mini Malted Eggs

13 – Repeat with all the cookie cups

These Easter Cookie Baskets Easter Treats are pretty much as adorable and as fun as it gets. And they're easy to make! Make them with your kids, or maybe have the Easter Bunny leave them! The sky is the limit with Easter fun.

Which of my Easter recipes has been the most exciting for you?

These Easter Cookie Baskets Easter Treats are pretty much as adorable and as fun as it gets. And they're easy to make! Make them with your kids, or maybe have the Easter Bunny leave them! The sky is the limit with Easter fun.